07 November 2006

Some November Observations

As I work recently teaching German Language to Georgian schoolkids I am connected to every-day-life really every day. Here are some observations: Georgian youngsters giving plenty of hope for the future. They are smart, agile, talented, fresh and visionary. Most of them want to become successful businessmen. But don't forget the girls, they too want in the business or going for law, medicine, computer science. Most of them have E-mail and use the Internet daily. After school it's normal to attend extra lessons in the most important subjects with private teachers. A lot of them do dancing, traditional, modern and mixed. Some boys are very active in the sports like Rugby or Water polo or Karate. Cell phones are tools of communication, chatting with friends, or answer calls by mom and dad. Some of their phones have the camera function or one can use them as voice recorders. I asked once or twice about the price of these nice tools and they told me cold-blooded prices of USD 600 and more. (I use a geriatric phone for under USD 100). In the classes seems to be no rivalry of fashionable wear, like that is a big problem in Germany, but yes, they do compare their cell phones. Quite a lot of girls start smoking secretly quite early, in a lesser case the boys. Boys are cool these days when wearing longer hair, down to the shoulders and almost everybody wears necklaces with silver or wooden crosses. The Georgian skills for learning languages are amazing, they learn fast and many speak after a couple of years with few or without foreign accent. English and German are about even popular and to know a basic Russian is quite normal.

Makunia has a nice set of photos from Tbilisians- Tbiliselebi


Writer'n said...

Interesting report. Cellphones are more important than food I guess.
But I read the blog you refered to. The thing that strikes me, like when I read other travelblogs etc. about Georgia, is that the sentence "young and educated georgians" is used a lot. Like it is some new things happening, and bright new stars emerging from the sinister darkness of the communist era.

In fact people from the former Soviet Union had better and higher education than the majority in the western countries. I find it a bit peculiar this attitude... Just a thought.

The problem is not in education, but in jobs as far as I can see.

Any thoghts?

Hans said...

There are a lot of jobs coming now in the Service Areas f.e. here

Sure most startups have just a few employees, such huge businesses like Siemens you won't find in Georgia, and there is no real need for such big structures in this country I think. Lots of Georgians try to solve their situations in opening their own small businesses, and it works in a way for some of them very successful. There are lots of young businessmen with their own cool enterprises under the 30, an age, where a lot of Westerners just finish their studies.

Sometimes I think, when will a smart guy here develop a sort of worldwide successful business out of an underdog position, f.e. like Nokia did it from Finland then...

Writer'n said...

Hey! Nokia didnt! hehe It was the norwegians. In fact the technology was developed in Trondheim where I live. The Finns bought the whole thing because the Norwegians were to stupid to invest in the technology.

But..to start a business is difficult. The amount of advertizing you need to cut through the noice of other products is huge.

Hans said...

"The amount of advertizing you need to cut through the noice of other products is huge."

But Google did it too from a garage and with a "simple" formular, but smart vision.
Today a business could upload some cool videos and get the attention of millions of users, that btw would be "the" way to promote Georgia very lowbudget.

Writer'n said...

I agree. Sometimes it just happens. Time, place and the great idea.

Hans said...

Yes, hypothetical discussions could be endless continued... ;-) Best regards, Hans

rolandmex said...

From experience (I live in Mexico) I can tell you that it's easier to make a career in emerging economies (like Georgia) than in established ones (like Germany). You've got more liberties in the sense that the "rules of the game" are not yet 100% fixed, so active hope is higher (just as Hans wrote), which creates lots of creativity.

In many established economies -I name Germany as an example- there's very little hope, so there's little positive outlook to the future. The result is passiveness, hopelessness, reluctance to innovate - just look at the high unemployment-rate.

Another example that being well off (i.e. you've got everything you need without even having to work for it) doesn't help because you loose track of what you would like to be/have.
No aims, no ideas.

Hans said...

Hallo Roland, ja stimmt. When a teacher has a salary at school of 150 Lari (~85 USD) and has costs, like for the gas heating only, of now 70 Lari, (soon to be doubled by GAZPROM, if no agreement between Russian and Georgia will be reached)then every small chance for an extra income will be used and the common economic development may only go up...
Also, to set up a small business got absolute simple (thanks to the Georgian government) and does not take more than 1 or 2 hours.

Writer'n said...

Then there's the matter of making money from the business. I ahev created 3 businesses, and been consultant for several others. I tell you there's not easy anywhere. In Georgia desperation can lead to success, but there's no money to be invested to establish the company. There's always a need for investments in order to buy equipment for production..even to buy a couple of computers and keeping up an internetconnection during the time(6-12 months if VERY lucky) while your company only bleeds expenses before starting to earn money is a challenge. In Mexico, Germany, Georgia, and Norway. In Silicone Valley 95% of all companies started goes bankcorrupt.

By the way I wrote som bad things about Putin again today..if it is of any comfort, Hans :-)

Hans said...

Yes, its difficult everywhere, but I give another example:

A friend of mine ran a cool but too elite art gallery over years and rarely sold anything, then desperate he sub-rented the space to another artist, (who also could not live on his own art) who started offering and is now making frames for any kind of images, like photos, drawings, paintings etc. Always there had been standing around some ready framed images on the ground and people unexpected started to buy those art works, that he is now selling art via the loopway of the frame-making the way the Gallery owner had wished too...

I got the idea, that art comes now less pretentious to the buyers.

Smart way, but of course the frame-maker himself could not dream about this development, when he started with his frames...

rolandmex said...

Lack of money for investments is replaced by simple work power. Work is dirt cheap in those countries.

When I came to Mexico I was surprised to find herds of street cleaners brooming expressways in the middle of the night. In Germany they would employ a machine, but only within day working hours.

Like I said: when you've got the (active) hope (i.e. you actually do something actively, not just wait for it to happen) to reach an aim, you'll find a way. If something is missing (money, computers, electricity 24/7, whatever) you'll find a solution to the problem.
In developed countries so many things seem unimaginable because people have made themselves too dependent on technological stuff.

And this is not about having a large nationwide company. First of all it is about surviving, having enough to live for your family, and when your business concept is excellent, over time you'll have success in the whole country.
I guess, in Georgia there's a lack of so many things that if you've got a good idea you probably are the only national provider at this point. You can work cheaper than foreign companies. You know your customers and can produce (or give service) according to their needs. This is an enormous market advantage.

All you need is a lot of stamina and the deep hope of being able to do it, even through drawbacks.